A land-grant university, it is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system. The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is the second oldest public university in the state (after Illinois State University), and is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference. It is a member of the Association of American Universities and is designated as a RU/VH Research University (very high research activities). The campus library system possesses the second-largest university library in the United States and the fifth-largest in the country overall.
The university comprises 17 colleges that offer more than 150 programs of study. Additionally, the university operates an extension that serves 2.7 million registrants per year around the state of Illinois and beyond. The campus holds 286 buildings on 1,468 acres (594 ha) in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana; its annual operating budget in 2011 was over $1.7 billion.
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Bioreactors ready for the big time – April 27, 2016
- Biodiesel from sugarcane more economical than soybean – March 20, 2016
- Light illuminates the way for bio-bots – March 16, 2016
- Enormous blades longer than two football fields could lead to more offshore energy in U.S. – January 30, 2016
- Research reveals mechanism for direct synthesis of hydrogen peroxide as an alternative to chlorine – January 22, 2016
- A new polymer damage indication system automatically highlights areas that are cracked, scratched or stressed – January 15, 2016
- As Aging Population Grows, So Do Robotic Health Aides – December 9, 2015
- Nanopores for desalination could take the salt out of seawater – November 12, 2015
- It’s time to stop thinking in terms of food versus fuel – September 15, 2015
- Made from Solar Concentrate – September 3, 2015
- Biomedical breakthrough: Carbon nanoparticles you can make at home – June 22, 2015
- Mission possible: This device will self-destruct when heated – May 22, 2015
- High-performance 3D microbattery suitable for large-scale on-chip integration – May 17, 2015
- Food and fuel: A model for bioenergy feedstock/vegetable double-cropping systems – May 11, 2015
- Save millions on data centers, thanks to a power usage breakthrough – April 21, 2015
- Photosynthesis hack needed to feed the world by 2050 – March 27, 2015
- Nano piano’s lullaby could mean storage breakthrough – March 16, 2015
- Molecule-making machine simplifies complex chemistry – March 13, 2015
- High efficiency concentrating solar cells move to the rooftop – February 10, 2015
- Team discovers how microbes build a powerful antibiotic – October 30, 2014
- Dissolvable Silicon Circuits and Sensors- October 11, 2014
- “Skin-Like” Device Monitors Cardiovascular and Skin Health – September 29, 2014
- Researchers Draw Inspiration for Camouflage System From Marine Life – August 20, 2014
- Harassment in Science, Replicated – August 12, 2014
- Muscle-powered bio-bots walk on command -July 3, 2014
- Drones give farmers eyes in the sky to check on crop progress – June 8, 2014
- Opening the Door For Regenerative Medicine Through Stem Cells – June 1, 2014
- Regenerating plastic grows back after damage – May 9, 2014
- As CO2 levels rise, some crop nutrients will fall – May 8, 2014
- Repeated Self-Healing Now Possible in Composite Materials – April 16, 2014
- Scientists say new computer model amounts to a lot more than a hill of beans | food productivity
- Off the shelf, on the skin: Stick-on electronic patches for health monitoring
- Toward ‘vanishing’ electronics and unlocking nanomaterials’ power potential | biodegradable electronics
- 3-D imaging provides window into living cells, no dye required
- Tiny swimming bio-bots boldly go where no bot has swum before
- Research team finds way to make solar cells thin, efficient and flexible
- The first decade: Team reports on U.S. trials of bioenergy grasses
- Ultrathin “Diagnostic Skin” Allows Continuous Patient Monitoring
- Hearing loss prevention drugs closer to reality thanks to new testing method from the University of Florida
- Nanotubes can solder themselves, markedly improving device performance
- Let’s just harvest invasive species. Problem solved?
- Natural Products Discovery Group Asks for Public’s Help with Citizen Science Program
- Team uses forest waste to develop cheaper, greener supercapacitors
- Cheap metals can be used to make products from petroleum
- Scientists develop heat-resistant materials that could vastly improve solar cell efficiency
- Delayed aging is better investment than cancer, heart disease research
- Entering a New Dimension: 4D Printing
- Ultra-Thin Sensor Bonds Directly to Skin to Continuously Monitor Temperature
- New nanotube surface promises dental implants that heal faster and fight infection
- First real-time detector for IV delivered drugs may help eliminate life-threatening medical errors
- Groundbreaking Pain Research
- Invention jet prints nanostructures with self-assembling material
- Printing Tiny Batteries
- Cloud Computing User Privacy in Serious Need of Reform
- Cradle turns smartphone into handheld biosensor
- One order of steel; hold the greenhouse gases
- Perfectly doped quantum dots yield colors to dye for
- New molecule heralds hope for muscular dystrophy treatment
- Insect eye-inspired camera captures wide field of view with no distortion
- Small in size, big on power: New microbatteries a boost for electronics
- New ‘transient electronics’ disappear when no longer needed
- Electronic Sensors Printed Directly on the Skin
- VIDEO: Clever Battery Completes Stretchable Electronics Package
- Quantum cryptography put to work for electric grid security
- Building a biochemistry lab on a chip
- Scientists Detail Severe Future Impacts of Climate Change
- Researchers strain to improve electrical material and it’s worth it
- In minutes a day, low-income families can improve their kids’ health
- Lower nitrogen losses with perennial biofuel crops
- These bots were made for walking: Cells power biological machines
- Sweet diesel! Discovery resurrects process to convert sugar directly to diesel
- New handheld imaging device to aid doctors on the ‘diagnostic front lines’
- Breakthrough: This electronic implant can dissolve inside your body
- Smart Sutures That Detect Infections
- Electronic fingertips could lead to smart surgical gloves
- New process doubles production of alternative fuel while slashing costs
- Superinsects Are Thriving in This Summer’s Drought
- Northwestern Researchers Create “Rubber-Band Electronics”
- Bird-like autonomous gliding robot can land on a human hand
- MIT Student Wins Award for Innovative Solar Printing Technology
- Particle-Free Silver Ink Prints Small, High-Performance Electronics
- Self-healing electronic chip tests may aid space travel
- New software dramatically simplifies addition of objects to photos
- Cloud computing: A game-changer for businesses
- Light used to quickly identify misshapen red blood cells
- Supercomputer Predicts Revolution
- Culturomics research uses quarter-century of media coverage to forecast human behavior
- A Pinoy’s mission to power the country —with rice husks
- Smart Skin: Electronics That Stick and Stretch Like a Temporary Tattoo
- New Photonic Crystals Have Both Electronic and Optical Properties
- DNA Helps Glucose Meters Measure More Than Sugar
- RTS game runs on a 20 foot-wide multi-touch LCD wall
- Silver pen allows electrical circuits to be handwritten on paper and other surfaces
- The Fog of Cyberwar: What Are the Rules of Engagement?
- Spies Inside: Ultrasmall Electrodes Go Anywhere
- New Structure Allows Lithium Ion Batteries to Get a Quicker Charge
- New Technology Would Dramatically Extend Battery Life for Mobile Devices
- Stretchable electronics help the heart
- Researchers develop eyeball camera with zoom capabilities
- Self-healing electronics using carbon nanotube-filled microcapsules
- Newly Developed Cloak Hides Underwater Objects from Sonar
- New yeast strain produces ethanol more efficiently
- Brighter idea for bendy displays
- Holograms Deliver 3-D, Without the Goofy Glasses
- New Imaging Technique Accurately Finds Cancer Cells, Fast
- Hope for quicker, more accurate cancer cell identification
- Bone formation achieved in laboratory
- Flexible, biocompatible LEDs could light the way for next gen biomedicine
- Stretchable Light-Emitting Sheets Could Form the Basis of Implantable Optoelectronics
- Stem cells used to reattach teeth in rats
- Quantum dots delivered to cell nucleus with a nanoneedle
- Geckos inspire electronics-printing technique
- Driving the Spira 3-wheel prototype
- Writing With Pictures: Toward A Unifying Theory Of Consumer Response To Images
- A Disease Cuts Corn Yields
- Antibacterial products fuel resistant bacteria in streams and rivers
- 50-year-old assumptions about strength muscled aside
- Loyola Fights Infectious Disease The Modern Way – With Robots
- Chicago’s Field Museum Cuts Back on Science
- Wind, solar power paired with storage could be cost-effective way to power grid
- Plants provide accurate low-cost alternative for diagnosis of West Nile Virus
- Teenager’s Invention Saves Fuel for School Buses
- STUDY FINDS A NEW PATHWAY FOR INVASIVE SPECIES – SCIENCE TEACHERS
- New method may lead to improved detection of nuclear materials
- Particles Found to Travel Faster than Speed of Light
- One antibody to bind them all
- ‘Simple, green, and cost-effective’ method of graphene production announced
- Algae Holds Promise for Nuclear Clean-Up
- Self-erasing paper
- The future of refrigeration could be magnetic
- New tissue-hugging implants using flexible electronics
Today many biofuel refineries operate for only seven months each year, turning freshly harvested crops into ethanol and biodiesel. When supplies run out, biorefineries shut down for the other five months. However, according to recent research, dual-purpose biofuel crops could produce both ethanol and biodiesel for nine months of the year—increasing profits by as much as 30%.
“Currently, sugarcane and sweet sorghum produce sugar that may be converted to ethanol,” said co-lead author Stephen Long, Gutgsell Endowed Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois. “Our goal is to alter the plants’ metabolism so that it converts this sugar in the stem to oil—raising the levels in current cultivars from 0.05% oil, not enough to convert to biodiesel, to the theoretical maximum of 20% oil. With 20% oil, the plant’s sugar stores used for ethanol production would be replaced with more valuable and energy dense oil used to produce biodiesel or jet fuel.”
A paper published in Industrial Biotechnology simulated the profitability of Plants Engineered to Replace Oil in Sugarcane and Sweet Sorghum (PETROSS) with 0%, 5%, 10%, and 20% oil. They found that growing sorghum in addition to sugarcane could keep biorefineries running for an additional two months, increasing production and revenue by 20-30%.
Today, PETROSS sugarcane produces 13% oil by dry weight, 8% of which is the kind of oil used to make biodiesel. At 20% oil, sugarcane would produce 13 times more oil—and six times more profit—per acre than soybeans.
A biorefinery plant processing PETROSS sugarcane with 20% oil would have a 24% international rate of return—a metric used to measure the profitability of potential investments—which increases to 29% when PETROSS sorghum with 20% oil is processed for an additional two months during the sugarcane offseason.
“When a sugarcane plant has to shut down, the company is still paying for capital utilization; they have spent millions of dollars on equipment that isn’t used for five months,” said co-lead author Vijay Singh, Director of the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory at Illinois. “We propose bringing in another crop, sweet sorghum, to put that equipment to use and decrease capital utilization costs.”
By decreasing capital utilization costs, the cost to produce ethanol and biodiesel drops by several cents per liter. Processing lipid-sorghum during the lipid-cane off-season increased annual biofuel production by 20 to 30%, thereby increasing total revenue without any additional investment in equipment.
The simulations in this paper accounted for the equipment required to retrofit ethanol plants to produce biodiesel. In the U.S., about 90 percent of ethanol plants are already retrofitted to produce biodiesel. According to Singh, in places like Brazil where they produce a large amount of sugarcane, it makes sense to retrofit ethanol plants. “Our study shows that it is cost effective to do it.”
In contradicting a theory that’s been the standard for over eighty years, an Illinois group led by Yang Zhang, assistant professor of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering and Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, has made a discovery holding major promise for the petroleum industry.
The research has revealed that in the foreseeable future products such as crude oil and gasoline could be transported across country 30 times faster, and the several minutes it takes to fill a tank of gas could be reduced to mere seconds.
Over the past year, using high flux neutron sources at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Zhang’s group has been able to videotape the molecular movement of alkanes, the major component of petroleum and natural gas. The group has learned that the thickness of liquid alkanes can be significantly reduced, allowing for a marked increase in the substance’s rate of flow.
“Alkane is basically a chain of carbon atoms,” Zhang said. “By changing one carbon atom in the backbone of an alkane molecule, we can make it flow 30 times faster.”
The discovery of Zhang, his graduate students Ke Yang, Zhikun Cai, and Abhishek Jaiswal, and collaborators Dr. Madhusudan Tyagi at NIST and Jeffrey S. Moore, Interim Director of the Beckman Institute and HHMI Professor of Chemistry at Illinois, disproves a well-known theory that Princeton University Profs. Walter Kauzmann and Henry Eyring formed in the late 1940s. They had predicted that all alkanes have a universal viscosity near their melting points. Zhang said the theory had been cited over 3,000 times.
However, a rather distinct odd-even effect of the liquid alkane dynamics was discovered. The odd-even effect in solid alkanes is taught in almost every introductory organic chemistry textbook, i.e., the difference in the periodic packing of odd- and even-numbered alkane solids results in odd-even variation of their densities and melting points. However, the same effect was not expected in liquid alkanes because of the lack of periodic structures in liquids.
“We would have thought that no structural memory may carry over from the solids to the liquids,” Prof. Martin Gruebele, the James R. Eiszner Chair Professor in Chemistry, said, “but clearly, the cooler liquid already has the origins of the odd-even effect built into its diffusion!”
“The classical Kauzmann-Eyring theory of molecular viscous flow is over simplified,” Zhang said. “It seems some chemistry textbooks may need revisions.”
The Illinois scientists had the technological advantage of super high-speed (at the pico-second, 1 trillionth of a second) and super high-resolution (at the nano-meter, 1 billionth of a meter) “video cameras” making use of neutrons to take movies of the molecules. “A neutron ‘microscope’ is the major breakthrough in materials research and we use it to look at everything. There are things we’ve never seen before,” Zhang said.
The research, “Dynamic Odd-Even Effect in Liquid n-Alkanes near Their Melting Points,” has been published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition. The German publication is one of the top chemistry journals in the world. The reported research discovery is fundamental to understand and improve a wide spectrum of chemical processes, such as lubrication, diffusion through porous media, and heat transfer.
Zhang conducted the research after being selected in fall 2015 for an American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award. The first author of the paper, Ke Yang, graduated in summer 2016 and now works at the Dow Chemical Company.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated doping-induced tunable wetting and adhesion of graphene, revealing new and unique opportunities for advanced coating materials and transducers.
“Our study suggests for the first time that the doping-induced modulation of the charge carrier density in graphene influences its wettability and adhesion,” explained SungWoo Nam, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at Illinois. “This work investigates this new doping-induced tunable wetting phenomena which is unique to graphene and potentially other 2D materials in complementary theoretical and experimental investigations.”
Graphene, being optically transparent and possessing superior electrical and mechanical properties, can revolutionize the fields of surface coatings and electrowetting displays, according to the researchers. A material’s wettability (i.e. interaction with water) is typically constant in the absence of external influence and are classified as either water-loving (hydrophilic) or water-repelling (hydrophobic; water beads up on the surface). Depending on the specific application, a choice between either hydrophobic or hydrophilic material is required. For electrowetting displays, for example, the hydrophilic characteristics of display material is enhanced with the help of a constant externally impressed electric current.
“What makes graphene special is that, unlike conventional bulk materials, it displays tunable surface wetting characteristics due to a change in its electron density, or by doping,” said Ali Ashraf, a graduate student researcher and first author of the paper, “Doping-Induced Tunable Wettability and Adhesion of Graphene,” appearing in Nano Letters. “Our collaborative research teams have discovered that while graphene behaves typically as a hydrophobic material (due to presence of strongly held air-borne contamination on its surface), its hydrophobicity can be readily changed by changing electron density.
Researchers have created a robotic mimic of a stingray that’s powered and guided by light-sensitive rat heart cells.
The work exhibits a new method for building bio-inspired robots by means of tissue engineering. Batoid fish, which include stingrays, are distinguished by their flat bodies and long, wing-like fins that extend from their heads. These fins move in energy-efficient waves that emulate from the front of the fin to the back, allowing batoids to glide gracefully through water. Inspired by this design, Sung-Jin Park et al. endeavored to build a miniature, soft tissue robot with similar qualities and efficiency. They created neutrally charged gold skeletons that mimic the stingray’s shape, which were overlaid with a thin layer of stretchy polymer.